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Written By: Thursday, January 26th 2017

It’s going to be an exciting year for the city of Barrie. That was the message Wednesday from Mayor Jeff Lehman as he addressed business leaders at the annual Barrie Chamber of Commerce Mayor’s Luncheon.

One of the highlights of his address – was proposed plans to address traffic congestion at Mapleview and the 400. While it still has to go through the approval process, the MTO has drawn up preliminary plans for a diverging diamond interchange. There are 60 in use in the US – but this would be the first in Ontario. The innovative design would not only improve traffic flow and provide better access to the business developments in the area, it would also improve safety by reducing the risk of collisions by 50 percent.

Here is a look at one of the first diverging diamond interchanges that was built in Washington State. The overpass shown in the video would actually become an underpass in the case of Mapleview Drive, which passes under Highway 400. Note that the traffic temporarily moves to the opposite side of the road.

Other highlights from the mayor’s address:

He showed the business leaders an artists rendering of what the redevelopment of the Barrie Bus Terminal will look like in the future – including a Farmers Market and restaurant on the ground level and the Sandbox – a single location for all entrepreneurs to meet, learn and mentor – on the second floor.

He said Barrie Real Estate prices have increased by 70 per cent in the past five years, which is good, but it also bad. The challenge for the city is to find way to promote affordable and entry level housing options, like low rise buildings and townhouse complexes – particularly along the arterial routes.

He expects to begin to solidify plans for new growth in the annexed area in the south end of the city, and says the city will likely see an increase in subdivision applications. He said the city plans to pace itself accordingly, after learning lessons from rapid growth in the past.